Wall cladding: original details

Most villas were clad in rusticated weatherboard.

Timber cladding

Overlapping kauri or totara timber plain boards in a range of sizes were used until around 1900 but most villas have totara, kauri or rimu rusticated weatherboards. 

Horizontal overlapping plain boards (Figure 1):

  • were used in a range of sizes – face exposures of 6” (150 mm) and 8” (200 m) were common, although 4½” and 7¼” were also found
  • typically had a lap of up to 1¾” (45 mm)
  • were ¾” (18 mm) thick
  • had scribers to facings and coverboards – scriber widths ranged from ½–¾” (12–18 mm). 

Rusticated boards:

  • became available in the 1860s in Wellington and were popular as cladding in the 1880s (according to Jeremy Salmond – Old New Zealand Houses 1800–1940)
  • were typically 8½” (215 mm) wide, although 8” (200 mm) and 10” (250 mm) were also common
  • were ⅞” (22 mm) thick. 

There are examples of weatherboards that incorporate:

  • a moulded bead to the bottom edge 
  • a small bevel to the back of a plain board
  • flush boards with a rebated horizontal joint. 

Vertical or horizontal corrugated iron was used on walls adjacent to the boundary to give fire protection, particularly in inner city parts of Wellington.

Corner details

External corners and bay window angles to timber clad villas were always formed with corner boards typically 3¼” (82.5 mm) or 4¼” (108 mm) wide. Coverboards could incorporate a vertical machined flute along one edge to mask any opening of the joint that may occur (Figure 2).

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It was common for no wall underlay to be used, but examples of early villas with paper underlay exist.

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Brick cladding

A number of villas were also constructed using solid brick walls that were then plastered and painted. Walls were typically 9” (230 mm) or 13½” (350 mm) thick for a single storey, with the courses making up the foundation being stepped out to give up to 24” (600 mm) wall thickness. Brick courses were commonly English bond or Flemish bond.